Like all modes of freight transportation, the freight railroad and intermodal sectors are not operating in normal times. As group news editor Jeff Berman has been reporting, the ongoing impact of the pandemic serves as the main driver for this, and it’s reflected in year-to-date U.S. rail carload and intermodal volumes in data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
According to the AAR, U.S. carload volumes were down 14.7% through the first five months of 2020 on an annual basis, with the weekly carload average for May coming in at the lowest level ever recorded since AAR began tracking this data in 1989. The numbers have been down each month to date in 2020. What’s more, total U.S. carloads in May were down 27.7% annually, marking the largest monthly percentage decline, per AAR data.